Friday, 31 May 2013

Cambridgeshire Libraries Picture Book Awards- Read it Again!

Over the last few weeks of term our school was lucky enough to become involved in Cambridgeshire Libraries children’s picture book awards, Read it Again!. We were left a copy of the shortlisted books with the aim of reading them with our classes, the children then voting on their top choices. Sadly as an adult I was not allowed to vote but I did have the lovely job of sharing them with the children!

Here are the full details from Cambridgeshire Libraries

“How it works

  • It is a unique award for a first-time picture book where the words and pictures are the work of one individual.
  • Thousands of Cambridgeshire children in local schools read, discuss and then vote for their favourite book from a shortlist of eight titles, all by first-time author/illustrators.
  • The award encourages children to discuss books with their classmates and think about what makes a good book.
  • Library staff visit schools promoting the award to children.”
I teach Year 4 and we regularly share picture books in class but it was great to get a chance to read some first time authors that we might not have known about otherwise.
There was a shortlist of 8 books and we managed to devour them all in just a few days.
- ‘The Monster Machine’ by Nicola L Robinson
- ‘Red Cat, Blue Cat’ by Jenni Desmond
- ‘Gnarbunga’ by Matthew Bromley
- ’Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket’ by Tatyana Feeney
- ‘Jack and the Baked Beanstalk’ by Colin Stimpson
- ‘Rabbityness’ by Jo Empson
- ‘The Journey Home’ by Frann Preston Gannon
- ’Churchill’s Tale of Tails’ by Anca Sandu.

The books in italics were the children’s clear favourites and provoked the most discussion although they enjoyed all of them.
The Monster Machine- a lovely tale of inventions and monster madness. The children (and I!) loved the bright illustrations and fun story. They surprised me by linking it back to a story we had read earlier in the year called The Dragon Machine by Helen Ward. Visit the author’s website here!
Gnarbunga- With a front cover like this the children couldn’t help but want to read it! Gnarbunga is made from icky, sticky, sludge and after emerging one day from a hole in the ground he causes a bit of chaos. The children love his mess but the adults not so much! Gnarbunga looks for something he can do and after several suggestions he has a go at skateboarding. The story drew my children in and I think they just really liked the idea of being messy! My class picked out the impact of the simple use of colour and the use of repetition through the story.

Jack and the Baked Beanstalk- I think this was definitely my favourite, a modern day twist on the classic tale. The illustrations were beautiful and the story was very engaging. Have a look at this blog post by Colin Stimpson to get an idea of the charm of the illustrations. The class really enjoyed this one too and clamoured to look at the pictures.
The Journey Home- This summary from says it all. “A thought-provoking story with a powerful message about conservation from an award-winning, rising illustrator and literary star.  It is the first book by the first-ever UK recipient of the amazing 'Sendak Fellowship' and created with input from the great Maurice Sendak himself. It's the story of a polar bear who heads off in a boat looking for somewhere new to live and on the way he picks up other endangered friends including an orangutan, an elephant and a panda to name just three.” A great story to use when talking about conservation and ecology.
Churchill’s Tail of Tales- The class were really amused by this story of a pig who loses his tail. The story follows him as he tries on a variety of his friends tails and begins to enjoy himself so much he begins to neglect his friends. The story provokes a good discussion on friendship and being happy with who you are. This is another one the children loved for the illustration and they enjoyed the humour as well.
I want to thank Cambridgeshire Libraries for letting our school be involved and I know we will be eagerly awaiting the results!